Free software (OSS) has conquered the technological industry, a reality dramatically demonstrated by the evolution of Microsoft. When open source became a trend in 1998, Microsoft reacted with hostility. By 2018, the company had completely changed focus and acquired best debt consolidation company, the leading open source software development platform. If you can’t beat them, join them.
With 90% of the IT leaders of companies aligned with Microsoft in their adoption of open source, we are now firmly in the final phase of diffusion of innovation, only the âlaggardsâ are resisting. But even among organizations that have embraced open source, there is a noticeable spectrum of maturity: consuming, To produce, To to kiss Open source.
Companies that embed open source principles of collaboration and transparency into their business model and corporate culture will gain benefits in terms of efficiency, hiring and retention, and market confidence. Those who do not will be increasingly left behind. Therefore, forward-looking leaders need to think strategically about their company’s position on the open source maturity spectrum and plan for increased adoption best debt consolidation company
The first step in a business’s open source journey is simply to consume open source software within your organization. The truth is it’s very hard not to consume free software in one form or another these days, as many of the most common development stacks are built on open source tools. However, this does come with some risks that must be managed, primarily license compliance and information security. It is important for organizations using open source software to work with their legal and security teams to develop and implement inventory and control policies for open source components in their supply chain. These are not one-off concerns; they must be treated continuously. Companies like Tidelift, WhiteSource, Black Duck, and Snyk have products to help you.
A transition step for many companies beyond the consumption of OSS is innersource, which is the application of open source methodologies within the company perimeter, allowing different development teams to see and participate in what others are doing. By using on-premises platforms such as GitHub Enterprise, GitLab, or Azure DevOps Server, businesses can break down silos and reap some of the benefits of open source development, including higher speed due to reduced friction between teams and better quality due to review process. This can represent a significant cultural change for an organization and represents a step on the road from consumption to the production of true open source software.
Much of the conversation about enterprise open source has centered around consumption open source software in the enterprise, as reflected in the questions posed in the Red Hat Open Source State of the Business report. But Red Hat itself is a business producer of OSS, not just a consumer. In fact, the TODO Group reports that about half of companies that use open source have taken this next step in some form or another.
The production of open source enterprises generally takes place in stages. Once a company has become familiar with open source practices among its own internal engineering teams, it can authorize its engineers to make fixes to open source projects upstream in its supply chain. This type of contribution is the cornerstone of flagship open source projects such as Linux, which saw enterprise code contributions approaching 90% in the latest version of the 5.10 kernel. For many of these companies, such as Huawei, Intel and Google, contributing to Linux represents a significant investment in research and development, even if they cannot be considered “open source companies” as Red Hat would be.
Conceptually, the incentive to invest in upstream open source projects is clear. Businesses acquire the ability to influence, and even directly control, the direction and growth of projects. As Heartbleed has demonstrated, investing in open source software can mitigate the risk that security breaches or other code quality issues degrade the usefulness of a project within a company’s own products. Additionally, open source participation can help attract talent.
Beyond contributing to third-party projects, large companies are consolidating the benefits of open source participation by publishing their own infrastructure projects. Google is a clear example, with Kubernetes, Go, and Chromium increasingly adopted. Facebook won with React. But there is a long line of organizations – Airbnb, PayPal, Indeed, Comcast, Capital One and many more – that are releasing open source projects as a way to recruit talent and ensure they build their core business. business on a solid basis. If you end up with a wildly successful open source project, the natural progression would be to find a home for the project in a foundation such as Apache, CNCF, or the Linux Foundation.
The most forward-thinking companies are going beyond publishing their own open source projects and embracing open source principles more deeply. Contributing financially to projects is a logical extension of contributing to the engineering effort, but it can introduce insurmountable process frictions in many organizations. It requires strong executive leadership to understand and act to realize the long-term shareholder value that flows from the vitality of the software supply chain through direct financial contribution. More public conversation in the vein of Nadia Eghbal’s work is in order here.
Then there are companies that not only publish shared infrastructure projects, but also build their core business model directly on open source products. COSS Media has 17 of these companies which have gone public since 1999, or 0.4% of the total of 4,509 Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) that took place during this period. It will be interesting to see how many IPOs over the next 20 years will be open source companies. I expect there will be a significant increase.
At the most extreme end of the OSS spectrum, some companies push open source principles so far that they become what we might call open companies. In these companies, all but the most sensitive data and processes (for example, customer data and other legally protected information) are shared publicly. Mozilla is an interesting first example. GitLab has a few open business trends, but stops before a full open. Startups such as Glimesh, Buffer and Liberapay go even further by holding public staff meetings, posting salaries, and even implementing ‘take what you want’ compensation. It will be interesting to see if, in 20 years, a handful of fully open companies will have succeeded.
Open source software has a proven track record, but not all adoptions are created equal. If your business consumes but doesn’t produce free software, consider the benefits of publishing your own projects. Take a look at the many examples of successful open source programs that exist today and build the capacity of your own organization to avoid falling behind, taking risks and losing talent. If your business has published successful open source projects in the past, consider adopting open source principles in other business functions. Build the case with leadership so they understand that the competition for clients and talent will be won by organizations that build trust through transparency.
Chad Whitacre is a Senior Open Source Software Engineer at Sentry.
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